The Berkeley High Yellowjackets scored five runs in the first three innings, then held on to beat California High 5-3 on Friday in the ’Jackets’ season opener at San Pablo Park.
Junior Sean Souders threw five innings for the win, giving up one earned run on four hits while striking out six. Ethan Friedman earned the save by retiring the last four Grizzly batters.
Berkeley scored three of their runs in the second inning. Bennie Goldenberg led off with a walk from California starter Adam Brizentine, and Jason Moore’s grounder was kicked by shortstop Spike McDougal. Designated hitter Jeremy Riesenfeld followed with a single to bring home Goldenberg. Brizentine plunked Sam Geaney with his next pitch, but Geaney was forced at second on Lee Franklin’s grounder, with Moore scoring on the play. Rightfielder Jeremy LeBeau drove in the last run with a double to the gap in right, giving the ’Jackets a 4-0 lead.
Berkeley tacked on another run in the next inning, with Clinton Calhoun singling, stealing second and scoring on a single by Moore.
That was all the lead Souders and the bullpen would need. Souders was solid through five innings, giving up just one run, a homer by California first baseman Andrew Worswick. Coming out to start the sixth, however, Souders surrendered two straight singles, prompting Berkeley head coach Tim Moellering to pull him in favor of Andre Sternberg, one of Moellering’s four southpaws.
Sternberg struck out Mike Ancin, but walked McDougal to load the bases. Sternberg’s bore down to get Worswick to hit a comebacker, getting the force at the plate for the second out.
Sternberg’s first pitch to the next batter, Justin Langro, was wild, allowing a run to score. Sternberg hurt his throwing shoulder on the pitch, the same shoulder that kept him out much of last season, and left the game.
“I have four outstanding lefties, so I’m not too worried about having a righty in there,” Moellering said. “But I am concerned if we lose Andre for any length of time.”
Moellering called on Friedman, yet another lefty. Langro hit a grounder up the middle that second baseman Franklin stopped with no throw to first. McDougal scored, but Franklin caught Worswick too far past third base and caught him in a rundown, with Friedman applying the final tag.
Friedman set down the Grizzlies in order in the seventh inning for the save.